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Daimler Unveils its Tesla Rival All-Electric Semi-Truck

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【Summary】The German automaker Daimler announced this Wednesday that it plans on putting a fully electric big rig truck into production by the year 2021. The automaker's offering will compete against others which will be offered by its European rivals including Tesla.

Manish Kharinta    Jun 08, 2018 12:56 PM PT
Daimler Unveils its Tesla Rival All-Electric Semi-Truck
author: Manish Kharinta   

The German automaker Daimler announced this Wednesday that it plans on putting a fully electric big rig truck into production by the year 2021. The automaker's offering will compete against others which will be offered by its European rivals including Tesla. 

The Freightliner is called the eCascadia and Daimler says that it will be capable of offering a driving range of 250 miles and will get an 80000 lb gross combined weight. 

The electric Freightliner (the brand is owned by Daimler) is ideal for shipment and regional distribution. The company also unveiled the Freightliner eM2 106 which is a medium duty truck and is offered with a driving range of up to 230 miles. The Em2 106 is designed for food and beverage delivery, local distribution and 'final mile' logistics service. The company announced that 30 vehicles will be delivered to customers. 

These trucks will be used for field testing to meet the production deadline of 2021.

Daimler's competitor Tesla is aiming to put its own all-electric semi-truck into production by 2019. Other companies like Volkswagen and its partner Navistar International are also getting their offerings in the segment ready. China is being considered as a potential Market. Tesla claims that it's all electric semi will be able to offer 20% savings on the per-mile operating cost of conventional semi-trucks. 

On average a commercial heavy-duty truck covers up to 100,000 miles during a year. There have been speculations which claim that the savings figure presented by Tesla might not be accurate, as the operating cost of trucks fluctuates constantly. The 250-mile all-electric driving range is still inferior to the driving ranges offered by conventional diesel-powered big rigs.

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The German automaker plans on introducing autonomous freight trucks and has set up research and development center in North America. This center is also working on developing the self-driving technology, which will also be offered in these trucks. 

The new facility is in Portland Oregon and the engineers will be using operations data from Daimler trucks in India and Germany. The team aims to develop a Global Network of specialists who will work in the autonomous driving segment. The company plans on investing $2.9 billion in its R&D and truck operations by the year 2019.

Another investment of around 590 million euros has also been earmarked to develop connectivity and self-driving technology, heavy-duty commercial vehicles and the company's R&D facility in Portland. The Portland facility has a substantial research and development infrastructure which also includes a heavy-duty truck wind tunnel. 

As a result of more stringent emission rules in Europe, Daimler also plans on expanding its Fleet of all-electric freightliners. The company will be testing eFuso, eCanter and aActros trucks. The eActros truck will be offered with an all-electric driving range of 125 miles and will also enter production in 2021. 

The company will introduce eCascadia in North America to rival Tesla's long-distance electric semi-truck. Daimler also plans on introducing more than dozen fully-electric trucks globally.

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